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Old 02-13-2019, 06:20 AM
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Arrow Eye on Extremism February 13, 2019

Eye on Extremism
February 13, 2019
Re: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#in...hzBhkDnFmRMGzp

Fox News: ISIS Has Stashed Away Millions To Fund New Wave Of Attacks Against The West, UN Experts Warn

“ISIS chiefs have stashed away millions to fund a new wave of attacks against Britain and the West - as the terror group faces being stamped out once and for all. U.N. experts believe the group has around $300 million stored in “bulk” - with one report warning it will be used to fund “larger-scale attacks once the opportunity arises.” The warning comes as ISIS face being finally routed in Syria as fighters supported by British and U.S. special forces close in for the kill. On Monday, Kurdish-led coalition forces battled to clear the village of Baghouz, where the remaining jihadis are holed up in fortified positions. But the operation was slowed by landmines and sniper fire as fighters desperately battled to hold off the onslaught. A U.N. Security Council report into the threat posed by ISIS warned the group still has up to 18,000 armed terrorists ready to fight to the death.”

CBS News: Facebook Challenged To Rein In Extremism: CEP Senior Advisor Dr. Hany Farid Discusses The Need For Facebook And Other Tech Companies To Do More To Combat Dangerous Extremist Content Online. In A February 5 letter, CEP Invited Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg To Join Top CEP Advisors For A Public Conversation About The Threat Posed By Extremist Content That Proliferates On Facebook. The Invitation Followed Zuckerberg’s Public Commitment To Hosting A Series Of Public Discussions About The Future Of Technology In Society.

The Independent: Bloody Battle For Last ISIS Territory Nears End In Syria

“More than a dozen civilians have been reportedly killed in the last 24 hours as the battle for the last territory held by Isis nears its end in eastern Syria. Some 16 people, among them seven children and eight women, were hit by an airstrike from the US-led coalition as they were fleeing the Isis-held village of Baghouz, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the beginning of a “final battle” on Saturday to capture the small hamlet, which would effectively bring an end to the group’s territorial ambitions in Iraq and Syria. Some 600 Isis fighters are thought to be holed up in Baghouz, and have been stopping civilians from leaving in order to use them as human shields, the Observatory said. Syrian state media, meanwhile, said 70 people were killed by an airstrike on the edge of the village, where they were taking shelter from the fighting. The government-controlled outlet is a less reliable source of news, however. The coalition said in a statement that it had launched a “precision strike” on Monday against an “Isis command and control facility, formerly used as a mosque”, but it is unclear whether the strike caused civilian deaths.”

Radio Farda: Hezbollah's Presence And Iran's Influence In Venezuela Coming Into Focus

“Admiral Craig S. Faller, Commander of U.S. Southern Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 7, 2019 that “Iran has deepened its anti-U.S. Spanish language media coverage and has exported its state support for terrorism into our hemisphere.” This statement came on the heels of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement on FOX the previous day. Pompeo stated, “Hezbollah has active cells – the Iranians are impacting the people of Venezuela and throughout South America.” There is very little public knowledge about the activities of the Iranian regime and Lebanese Hezbollah in Latin America. There are only a handful of scholars who have presented analysis of the activities of Iran and Hezbollah there. Until now there has been only a handful of public statements by U.S. government officials. It is safe to assume that U.S. intelligence and military officials have far more intelligence about such activities than what they have made public. It is also safe to assume that their knowledge constitutes only a portion of the total of the activities of the Iranian regime and Hezbollah.”

Voice Of America: Turkey, Russia At Odds Over Syria Ahead Of Key Summit

“Russia is hosting a three-way summit this week on Syria even as growing diplomatic differences between two participants threaten to undermine the event. Thursday's talks on the Black Sea resort of Sochi involve Russia, Turkey and Iran; however, Moscow and Ankara are at odds over border security and other concerns. Moscow is demanding “decisive action” from Ankara over Idlib, the last remaining rebel-controlled Syrian enclave, while Ankara is pressing for support for its demand to create a safe zone in Syria to protect the Turkish frontier. While Russia and Iran back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Turkey supports Syrian rebels, the countries have found common ground in efforts to end the civil war under the auspices of the so-called “Astana Process."

CNN: Afghanistan's Young Lionel Messi Fan Is Now A Taliban Target

“Global fame is hard to handle for any 7-year-old. In Afghanistan, it can also be life-threatening. In January 2016, a photo of young Murtaza Ahmadi went viral, thanks to his makeshift version of an Argentine football shirt of his idol Lionel Messi. The shirt, a blue-and-white-striped plastic bag with Messi's names and number etched in pen on the back, earned the child two autographed shirts, a signed football and a meeting with the millionaire footballer 11 months later. Today, plenty of people now may recognize Ahmadi -- but he's on the run, wishing they didn't. Ahmadi is seen in his makeshift shirt in 2016. Ahmadi's problems began after he met his hero in a brief visit to Qatar. They weren't troubles caused by the constant spotlight or paparazzi that blight footballers' lives. It was the Taliban, who, in November, invaded the district of Jaghori in Ghazni province where he grew up. “The Taliban were killing our relatives and they were searching houses. They would stop cars and kill their passengers, searching houses and killing people,” Ahmadi told CNN. “We were not allowed to play football by the Taliban or even go out of the house,” he said. “We used to hear the sound of heavy machine guns, and Kalashnikovs, and rockets at home.”

United States

AZ Central: Judge: Police, Court Records In Fountain Hills Terrorism Case Must Be Made Public

“Police and court records in a criminal case against an 18-year-old man charged with terrorism must be made publicly available, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ordered Tuesday. Judge Sally Duncan's move comes after The Arizona Republic and other local media challenged a Maricopa County Attorney's Office effort to seal a probable-cause statement, a police report, 911 calls and footage of the incident that led to Ismail Hamed being arrested and charged. Prosecutors charged Hamed with aggravated assault and two counts of terrorism after a Maricopa County Sheriff's deputy shot him on Jan. 7 in Fountain Hills. “This is an ongoing court case, it's a public concern, courtrooms are open to the public,” Duncan said, adding, “and the materials will be disseminated.” The judge's order is a rebuke against Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's office, which routinely has sought to block law-enforcement agencies from releasing public documents in pending cases. In this case, Judge Sam Myers had previously granted the County Attorney's Office request to seal the probable-cause statement. Meanwhile, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has declined to release the other materials, saying the records are under seal.”

The Express: Russia Demands US Pull Troops From Syria As Iran Issues New Threats - ‘Fulfil Your Pledge’

“RUSSIA has demanded the US pull troops out of Syria in a dire warning against Washington, as Moscow increases to roll-out withdrawal plans for the region. The US is facing increasing pressure from Russia and Iran to withdraw their troops from Syria, as tensions continue to rise in the war-torn region. Russia Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Monday: "We insist that the United States should fulfil its pledge and fully withdraw from Syria. Moscow's warning comes a day after Iran threatened to strike US bases if Washington fails to fully withdraw its military from Damascus. On Sunday, Iran's Deputy Defence Minister Reza Talai-Nik warned that "all US bases there are within the range of our cross-border weapons, and if these fail, we'll strike them from within Iran”, according to reports by state-run Tasnim News Agency. On December 19, US President Donald Trump announces plans to pull Washington troops out of Syria after claiming the ISIS-strong hold was "defeated.”

The New York Times: Arkansas White Supremacist Gang Conspired To Kill To Protect Drug Sales, Prosecutors Say

“Federal prosecutors in Arkansas announced racketeering charges against 54 people who they say belong to a white supremacist gang that kidnapped, maimed and tried to kill to protect its drug-trafficking operations. An indictment unsealed on Tuesday describes the gang, the New Aryan Empire, as a highly organized outfit that sold “copious amounts” of methamphetamine around the Arkansas River Valley. Its leaders kept members in line with threats and acts of violence, and the gang viciously attacked people it suspected of collaborating with the authorities, prosecutors wrote. “The N.A.E. is reprehensible in its admiration for Nazi imagery and racist views, but even more alarming are the crimes and violence perpetrated by these defendants,” said David Rybicki, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. He added that the defendants’ activities were similar to those of gangs like MS-13, the Bloods, the Crips and the Aryan Brotherhood, and said the department was working closely with law enforcement agencies across the country to combat the groups.”

Syria

Military Times: US Strikes ISIS-Held Mosque As Syria Battle Intensifies

“The U.S. military said Tuesday it struck a mosque that had allegedly been used as an Islamic State control center, as American-allied Syrian forces battled the extremists in their last stronghold in eastern Syria amid reports of more civilian casualties. The U.S.-led coalition said warplanes struck the mosque in the small town of Baghouz on Monday in support of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. It said the airstrike occurred as ISIS was using the mosque to direct attacks and employ suicide car bombs against the SDF. “This mosque lost its protected status when ISIS deliberately chose to use it as a command and control center,” said the coalition’s deputy commander, Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika. Hundreds of mostly foreign ISIS fighters are believed to remain in Baghouz and nearby areas, where the SDF began its final push Saturday after months of fighting. ISIS has been fighting back with suicide car bombs, sniper fire and booby traps, and has been using civilians as human shields, slowing the U.S.-backed fighters’ advance. The Islamic State gunmen came out of hiding in the middle of the night and set up a checkpoint on a rural road in eastern Syria. For several hours, they stopped those passing and searched through their mobile phones to check their allegiances, until they vanished again into the desert.”

Reuters: Netanyahu Confirms Latest Israeli Strike In Syria

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israeli forces had carried out another strike in Iran-aligned Syria, a day after the Syrian army said an Israeli drone fired missiles near a demolished hospital and an army observation post. “We are operating every day, including yesterday, against Iran. All the time. Against Iran and against its attempt to entrench itself in the area,” Netanyahu told reporters before flying to Poland for a Mideast conference. Israel is trying to counter the influence carved out in Syria by Iran, which has supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the war that erupted in 2011. Monday’s air strike, which occurred in the southern Quneitra province, caused only material damage, the Syrian army said. Israel has been increasingly open about carrying out air strikes in Syria with an election looming in April. Netanyahu has said in recent weeks that Israel has carried out hundreds of attacks in Syria over the past several years and would ramp up its fight following the planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: US Pushes For Repatriation Of Foreign Militants From Syria

“The United States is ready to help countries repatriate ISIS militants detained in Syria but time is of the essence and Washington insists that ultimately it is up to their home governments to come up with solutions. The window to organize the fighters' return with US support “is quickly closing,” a US State Department official told AFP, on condition of anonymity. “We call on all countries to step up and take responsibility for their citizens that went to Syria to fight for ISIS.” US President Donald Trump's sudden announcement in December that US troops would be withdrawing from Syria set off a countdown for governments whose citizens, having joined IS, were captured by the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Those forces, backed by artillery fire from a US-led coalition, are in a final push this week to retake a last morsel of ISIS-held territory in Syria. Once the coalition declares it has taken all ISIS territories, the White House is expected to withdraw US troops. When that happens, the risk is high that “foreign terrorist fighters”, or so-called FTFs, will escape SDF control, posing a new threat.”

The Guardian: 'Nothing Left In Baghuz': ISIS Families Flee As War Enters Endgame

“Clamouring up dirt berms, clutching babies and blankets, the newest refugees of the Islamic State could well be the last. Inside the nearby enclave they fled are perhaps no more than 500 people – nearly all of them fighters who are refusing to leave a two square kilometre corner of eastern Syria that is all that remains of the group’s so-called caliphate. The women and children who escaped the eastern Syrian town of Baghuz on Tuesday were not supposed to be there. Weeks of bombing and an exodus that had largely accounted for the pre-war population of 9,000 had given the besieging Kurdish-led forces a clear run at the holdouts in the ruins – or so they thought. After three days of intensive bombardment, more people emerged than the attackers had thought possible, slowly making their way to collection points adjoining the battlefield. They included women from France, Russia and Tajikistan, as well as families from Iraq and nearby Syrian towns and cities. As the utopian promise of Isis had become a bloody, shrinking dystopia, Baghuz has become a collection point for fighters and their families from across the lands the group once controlled. “There are more women and children of Isis left inside than we expected before starting the operation on Saturday,” said Adnan Afrini, a commander from the Kurdish unit, known as the SDF.”

Jerusalem Post: Car Bomb Explodes Near Syrian Town On Border With Turkey

“A car bomb exploded at a checkpoint on the outskirts of the Syrian town of al-Rai near the Turkish border on Tuesday, residents and an emergency worker told Reuters. The explosion struck a checkpoint some 5 k.m. away from the border, wounding three policemen and four civilians, an emergency worker in the area said. Turkish broadcaster NTV earlier said the explosion had taken place on the Syrian side of a border crossing about 32 k.m. west of al-Rai. The town of al-Rai is in an area under the control of Turkey-backed rebels and was seized from Islamic State militants in Ankara’s “Euphrates Shield” operation in 2016.”

Iran

Arutz Sheva: 'Europe Helps Iran After It Sends Terrorists To EU Soil'

“Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu departed for a conference in Warsaw Tuesday night. Netanyahu stated that he conference will focus on ways to counter Iranian "aggression, it's desire to counqer the Middle East and destroy Israel. What's important is that many countries are uniting against this aggression." Arutz Sheva asked the Prime Minister what was meant by the statement "bringing US policy to Europe." "There's a curious thing happening in Europe. Iran is actually sending its terrorist squads and they've already killed people in Europe. It's sending its terrorists there, and at the same time, certain European governments are courting Iran, trying to curry favor with them and give them advantageous terms or ways to go around the American sanctions. "The fact that on European soil today there's a meeting ground [with many European nations participating] on this is very important," Netanyahu said.”

Iraq

CBS News: Pentagon Chief Visits Iraq After Trump's Remarks On ISIS Strategy Anger Baghdad

“The top Pentagon official arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday to consult with American military commanders and Iraqi government leaders on the future U.S. troop presence in Iraq, just a week after President Trump angered Iraq's leaders by suggesting a change in the U.S. mission there. Pat Shanahan, the acting secretary of defense, said before his unannounced trip that he wanted to hear first-hand about the state of Iraq's fight against remnants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Shanahan, who is on his first visit to Iraq, was also to meet Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi. In remarks to reporters after leaving Washington on Sunday, Shanahan declined to say whether he would propose that additional U.S. special operations troops be brought to Iraq to, in effect, compensate for a pullout from Syria to begin within weeks. The U.S. still has about 5,200 troops in Iraq to train and advise its security forces, 16 years after the U.S. invaded to topple Saddam Hussein. President Donald Trump upset Iraqis by saying earlier this month that U.S. forces should use their Iraqi positions to keep an eye on neighboring Iran. That is not the stated U.S. mission in Iraq, and Iraqi officials have said Mr. Trump's proposal would violate the Iraqi constitution.”

Iraqi News: Iraq Mobilization Forces Kill Two IS Members In Diyala

“Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces on Tuesday killed two Islamic State members in Diyala province, a security source was quoted saying. Iraqi Almaalomah website quoted the source saying that PMF troops killed the pair in Hamreen mountains area while attempting to sneak into the province.The source pointed to an increase in IS activity in the desert areas between Salahuddin and Diyala provinces. Iraqi forces are still struggling against remnant IS havens in desert areas even after the government declared in late 2017 it had recaptured all of the extremist group’s strongholds.”

Iraqi News: Iraqi Security Arrest 3 Islamic State Terrorists In Mosul

“Iraqi security forces arrested on Tuesday three members of the Islamic State militant group in Mosul city. Iraqi media network Dijlah TV quoted the Interior Ministry as saying that police forces arrested the trio in al-Refaei district in the western side of Mosul. They are involved in several car bomb attacks that targeted security forces and civilians during the Islamic State’s 2014-2017 capture of Mosul city, the ministry added. Former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi announced in July 2017 liberation of the second largest Iraqi city of Mosul from IS militants, who had captured it in 2014. More than 25,000 militants were killed throughout the campaign, which started in October 2016. IS declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by a U.S.-led international coalition and paramilitary forces, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the group’s previously proclaimed capital. However, Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks across Iraq against troops.”

Iraqi News: Iraqi Court Sentences 6 Brothers To Death For Joining Islamic State

“An Iraqi criminal court has sentenced six brothers to death by hanging for joining the Islamic State (IS) terror group. The six were found guilty of launching armed and car bomb attacks against security forces and civilians in Al Khasfa and Hamam Al Alil districts in Nineveh, leaving scores dead, Gilgamish Press quoted the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council as saying in a statement. The court ruling was issued pursuant to article ¼ of the anti-terrorism law, added the statement. Iraqi courts have sentenced many of Islamic State members, including a big number of female members, to death over joining the militant group. The exact number of detained militants is still unknown, however, it’s estimated to be at thousands. It’s also unclear how many members are likely to face death sentences. Iraq’s anti-terrorism law empowers courts to convict people who are believed to have helped jihadists even if they are not accused of carrying out attacks. The UN, the European Union and international human rights groups always criticize mass killings in Iraq and call for abolishing the death penalty, which was suspended on June 10, 2003, but was reinstated on August 8, 2004. Despite defeat in Iraq in late 2017, many IS remnants remain at large in the hideouts of the Arab country.”

Afghanistan

Xinhua: Afghan Gov't Forces, Taliban Increase Activities, 32 Killed

“At least 32 people including three civilians have been killed in Afghanistan over the past 24 hours as government forces and the Taliban outfit increased activities, officials said Tuesday. Taliban militants targeted a security checkpoint in Akazi area of Balamurghab district in the western Badghis province early Tuesday, triggering a fierce fighting which lasted for five hours. Eight security personnel were killed and eight others injured, head of provincial council Abdul Aziz Beg confirmed. According to Aziz Beg, the Taliban fighters have also suffered, but did not give an exact figure of casualties. In another operation, the Taliban militants attacked a security checkpoint in Haider Quli area outside Farah city, capital of western Farah province late Monday night, killing four security personnel and wounding four others, Shah Mahmoud Naemi, deputy to the provincial council told Xinhua. Government forces' crackdowns on the armed militants have also killed 10 militants in the northern Takhar and seven militants in Chamtal district of Balkh province since Monday, army spokesman in the northern region Mohammad Hanif Rezai said. Three more civilians were killed and eight others injured as a mortar mine struck a house in the northern Takhar province on Tuesday morning.”

Pakistan

Reuters: Four Police Killed In Pakistan Ambush Claimed By Taliban Splinter Group

“Taliban gunmen opened fire on a police vehicle and killed four officers in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, officials said, in a region once riven by militant violence but since cleared following military crackdowns. The ambush, claimed by the Hizbul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, was the first major attack in the Dera Ismail Khan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since a suicide blast killed a candidate in the lead-up to the July general election. “The officers were out patrolling the area when six to seven people who were waiting for them opened fire on their vehicle,” senior police official Mohammad Iqbal told Reuters. ”The assailants were seated at a local tea stall and opened fire when the police vehicle approached.” Iqbal said four police were killed and three people were wounded. Among the wounded is a senior police officer said to be in critical condition. ”Today Hizbul Ahrar target killers ... made a police vehicle their target,” the group’s spokesman, Aziz Yousafzai, said in a statement sent to Reuters via Whatsapp. Dera Ismail Khan is on the edge of Pakistan’s former tribal areas that border Afghanistan, large swaths of which were once controlled by the Pakistani Taliban before military operations in 2009 and 2014 ended militant control of the region.”

Yemen

The National: Anwar Gargash: Houthis Are Jeopardising Historic Chance For Peace In Yemen

“Houthi rebels are jeopardising a historic chance to achieve peace in Yemen, the UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash said on Wednesday, reiterating calls for international pressure on the Iran-backed group. The Stockholm Agreement, brokered through UN-led peace talks in December, is the only logical solution to ending Yemen’s nearly four-year war, Dr Gargash said on Twitter. “A political solution to the crisis will not be achieved by the reversal of commitments, we have a historic opportunity threatened by the Houthi to jeopardise efforts made in Stockholm,” Dr Gargash said. Yemen's internationally recognised government and Houthis rebels committed to a series of measures to pave the way for a full-scale peace effort during UN-brokered talks with the government in Sweden last December. However, the deal has not been fully enforced amid what the international coalition says is a litany of recorded rebel violations. The deal included a ceasefire in Hodeidah and withdrawal of forces from the city and its ports, a prisoner exchange and the opening of humanitarian corridors to all areas of the country.”

Lebanon

Times Of Israel: Lebanese PM Says Hezbollah Can Keep Arms, As New Government Convenes

“Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday indicated that his new government would allow terror group Hezbollah to keep its weapons, which it used in a major war against Israel in 2006 and have been frequently used since to threaten Israel. Members of Lebanon’s Parliament began discussing the new government’s policy statement, which focuses on improving the country’s economic conditions. The statement said that Lebanese citizens have the right to “resist Israeli occupation and repel its aggression,” in reference to the Iran-backed terror group’s right to keep its weapons. Under UN Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah, Lebanon committed to disarming the Iran-backed terror group. Hariri began the meeting by reading the policy statement, which calls for reforms in state finances, the economy and the crumbling electricity sector, which costs state coffers about $2 billion a year. The statement stressed “the need for Lebanon to distance itself from external conflicts and to respect the Charter of the Arab League, and the adoption of an independent foreign policy based on Lebanon’s supreme interest and respect for international law to preserve the country as a peace forum,” according to the Naharnet website.”

ABC News Australia: Australian Man Facing Death Penalty In Lebanon Over Alleged Bomb Plot Pleads For Freedom

“An Australian man facing the death penalty in Lebanon over an alleged plot to blow up a passenger jet has asked a military tribunal to free him, saying investigators forced him to sign a false confession. Amer Khayat was questioned over a statement bearing his signature that said he knew he was carrying explosives hidden inside a Barbie doll that would be detonated 20 minutes into the July 2017 Etihad flight. “It is a masquerade,” he told the court. “They told me: 'Tell us your story'. It is not true.” Mr Khayat pleaded with the tribunal's panel of judges to make a decision on his case. He has been in custody since August 2017 while authorities in Lebanon investigate him. “Do you want me to commit suicide in prison?” he shouted in the hearing room. “I have two daughters. I have not seen them for two years. I'm becoming crazy.” Australian Federal Police allege two bombs were hidden in the luggage of Mr Khayat by his brothers shortly before he boarded an Etihad flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi in July 2017. The AFP said Mr Khayat knew nothing about the bombs, which were allegedly hidden inside a meat grinder and a Barbie doll, and removed from his luggage at the last minute by his brothers because his bags exceeded Etihad's luggage allowance.”

Egypt

Asharq Al-Awsat: Egypt Starts Measures To Counter Terrorist Hideouts

“Egypt’s Interior Ministry said Monday it is considering measures to legalize notifying security forces of the apartments that are leased and sold (furnished, new rent), or those under construction and other places. It said these apartments could be exploited by “terrorist elements” and used as shelter and warehouses to hide their crime tools in order to avoid security monitoring. In recent years, terrorist elements in Egypt have resorted to unexpected hideouts inside furnished apartments amid population gatherings, where they prepare explosives before carrying out terrorist attacks. The Egyptian Interior Ministry announces every now and then confrontations with terrorist elements, who use residential apartments to hold organizational meetings and prepare the equipment of the terrorist operation. One of the most famous terrorist incident associated with such den was the assassination of Egypt's Public Prosecutor Hisham Barakat on June 29, 2015. Perpetrators resorted to renting an apartment in Sheikh Zayed City in the 6th of October district of Giza governorate to manufacture the explosive device, which was placed in his vehicle.”

Libya

Africa News Agency: Thousands Killed, Injured Or Kidnapped In 2018 Libyan Violence

“Human Rights Solidarity (HRS) says 3 719 people were killed, wounded or kidnapped in clashes across Libya during 2018 as the North African country battles to stabilise following the 2011 Arab Spring and revolution. In a recently released report, HRS said that 2 947 fighters made up 79 percent of the total figure while 772 civilians, including 49 children, accounted for the remainder. “One thousand five hundred and sixty-seven people were killed, 2 011 people were injured and 141 others were captured or detained by armed groups,” the report stated. The second half of 2018 was the most violent, with 1 538 casualties registered. June alone saw 857 casualties, which included 285 deaths, as fighting escalated in Derna in eastern Libya. Derna topped the report with the most casualties in 2018, registering 1 111 people, and comprising 30 percent of the total number in Libya. The numbers were high due to the clashes between forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar and the Derna Protection Force. The clashes killed 83 people, including six children. “Tripoli came second on the list with 978 casualties, that is 26 percent of the total number in 2018, due to militia clashes in southern parts of the capital where 276 people were killed, including eight children,” the report recorded.”

Somalia

All Africa: Somalia: Car Bomb Blast Kills Security Official In Mogadishu

“A senior Somali police officer was killed in a car bomb explosion in Mogadishu, witnesses said, the latest in a series of attacks by the Al-Qaeda-linked Al shabaab in the capital. The incident took place at Sey Piano junction after an explosive device fitted into a police vehicle that he was travelling in exploded in the area early on Tuesday morning. The officer, Hassan Dheere died on the spot following the blast resulted from the bomb concealed under his car's seat, according to an eyewitness who spoke to Radio Shabelle. In the aftermath of the incident, Somali security forces condoned off the scene and launched an investigation into the blast. No arrest was reported. No group has yet claimed the responsibility for today's car bombing in Mogadishu, but, Al-Shabaab often carries out regular attacks against Somali government and the AU forces.”

Africa

Reuters: Morocco Arrests Three Frenchmen Suspected Of Terrorism Financing

“Three Frenchmen have been arrested in the Moroccan city of Sale close to the capital Rabat on suspicion of financing terrorism and having connections with militant groups, police said on Tuesday. Investigations showed that the suspects had connections with Islamic State (IS) fighters in the Middle East, a statement carried by state news agency MAP said. The suspects, who were arrested on Monday, were not identified but the police statement said one of them is of Algerian origin. Compared with other countries in North Africa, Morocco has been largely insulated from militant attacks. The four main suspects arrested in connection with the killing in December of two Scandinavian women near the tourist hub of Marrakech had pledged allegiance to IS in a video. In April 2011, 17 people were killed in the bombing of a restaurant in Marrakech. In 2017 and 2018, Morocco said it dismantled 20 militant cells planning attacks in the country.”

United Kingdom

The Independent: Clicking On Terrorist Propaganda Even Once Could Mean 15 Years In Prison Under New Law

“Anyone who views terrorist propaganda once online can be jailed for up to 15 years under new laws that have sparked human rights concerns. MPs had urged the government to scrap plans to criminalise viewing “information useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”, which goes further than much-used laws that made physically collecting, downloading or disseminating the material illegal. A United Nations inspector accused the government of straying towards “thought crime” with the proposal, which originally stated that people would have to access propaganda “on three or more different occasions” to commit a terror offence. But the benchmark was removed from the draft law, meaning a single click is now illegal. Only journalists, academic researchers or people who had “no reason to believe” they were accessing terrorist propaganda are exempt. Security officials have told The Independent that discretion will be exercised and the law will help prosecute extremists in cases where other offences cannot be proven, or to prevent radicalisation. A report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights said the offence “is a breach of the right to receive information and risks criminalising legitimate research and curiosity.”

France

Daily Mail: ISIS Fanatics Call For Lone Wolf Attacks In Paris In Poster Showing The Eiffel Tower Up In Flames

“ISIS fanatics are calling for so-called 'lone wolf' attacks to be carried out in France, using a digitally manipulated image of the Eiffel Tower in Paris going up in flames. It also shows the black and white flag of the Islamic State flying from the iconic landmark, as another strike is launched on a building nearby. Supporters of the Islamist terror network have been known to post similar posters in the past, often using images of major Western cities such as New York and London. This poster, intending to encourage 'lone wolf' terror attacks on the French capital by ISIS supporters, has been shared online They are often shared on encrypted messaging apps such as Telegram, to 'inspire' extremists to carry out terror attacks. On Monday, the same group issued a poster depicting an artillery strike on the White House in Washington DC, the Colosseum in Rome and Egypt's famous pyramids, threatening to 'demolish thrones'. On New Year's Day, they published a chilling poster showing a jihadist with a sniper rifle looking out over New York, and another of a hooded fanatic standing in a crowd in London. In the image of London, blood can be seen on Big Ben while other buildings burn in the background.”

Europe

The National: Irish ISIS Suspect Ended Up In Syria 'By Mistake'

“Almost 3,200 miles stretch between Damascus and Dublin. It’s a route taken by Alexandr Bekmirzaev five and a half years ago, when he left his home in Ireland’s capital for war-torn Syria. Once upon a time he manned the doors of Dublin’s rowdy clubs as a security guard. Now the Irish citizen is suspected as a member of ISIS by authorities. Mr Bekmirzaev claims differently, calling he has been “trapped in the caliphate” that swept by rebels in Syria’s civil war. “Life in Ireland was simple. I liked it”, he said in an interview with the Independent in northern Syria. Mr Bekmirzaev emigrated from Belarus in 1999 and became a permanent Irish citizen in 2010. He is currently held by Kurdish authorities while Irish police suspect him of knowing top ISIS recruits in Ireland. The former nightclub bouncer says he was consumed by the news coverage of air strikes in Syria and civilian deaths. “On TV it was presented as a massacre. Bashar al-Assad just ruthlessly killed many people,” he said. Mr Bekmirzaev had no military experience, and claims he decided to help Syrians by providing medical assistance in Aleppo. “I have no medical education; I was a helper.”

Southeast Asia

Khmer Times: Indonesia Warns Of Terrorism Spread

“With ISIL’s defeat in Syria, Indonesia has observed the shifting to the region, among others, of its propaganda, radicalisation and recruitment, a senior Indonesian diplomat said Monday. Dian Triansyah Djani, permanent representative of Indonesia to the United Nations, was speaking at a United Nations Security Council meeting on the threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts. “We also continue to be concerned about the threat of returning, relocating or released foreign terrorist fighters to various regions and countries,” Mr Djani said. One of the most alarming trends is the recruitment and radicalisation of women and children, especially those who are well educated and come from middle class backgrounds, he said. “It is also our assessment that terrorist planning and logistics are shifting towards high-tech, cyber activities, including online transactions, online fraud, social-media fund raising, crowd-funding and donations,” he said. Indonesia again condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, no matter its origins or motivations, he added. “No justification is good enough, and we again express our objection to any attempts to link this menace to any specific religion, nationality, people or civilisation,” the Indonesian diplomat said.”

Technology

The New York Times: When Facebook Spread Hate, One Cop Tried Something Unusual

“The rumor began, as so many do these days, on Facebook. A group of Muslim refugees in southern Germany, it was claimed, had dragged an 11-year-old girl to a pedestrian underpass and raped her. When the police denied the claim, it was said that politicians beholden to the European Union had ordered them to cover up the assault. The rumor proved unfounded, but it provoked waves of fear and anger as it was pushed out across Germany by Facebook’s News Feed. Users worked one another up into fits, concluding that these dangerous refugees, and the duplicitous politicians who shielded them, would all have to be thrown out. In most of the world, rumor-fueled meltdowns are taken as a fact of life, a product of Facebook’s propensity for stirring up people’s worst impulses. But Andreas Guske, a trim, steely-eyed police inspector in the refugee-heavy Bavarian town of Traunstein where the rumor circulated, didn’t think his community could afford complacence. Attacks on refugees were already rising. And southern Germany is a front line in Europe’s battle over identity and immigration.”

Bloomberg: India Seeks Access To Private Messages In WhatsApp Crackdown

“India’s government dealt retail giants Amazon.com and Walmart a devastating blow this year with new policies undermining their growth plans. Now U.S. social media pioneers Facebook and Twitter are in danger of suffering similar setbacks in what is perhaps the world’s most important emerging technology market. In the latest skirmish, the government is targeting Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp, the popular messaging service increasingly important to its parent’s bottom line. Frustrated that the service has been used to incite violence and spread pornography, the government is pressing WhatsApp to allow more official oversight of online discussions, even if that means giving officials access to protected, or encrypted, messages. Facebook has refused, risking punitive measures or even the possibility of a shutdown in its biggest market. “For six months, we’ve been telling them to bring more accountability to their platform but what have they done?” said Gopalakrishnan S., a senior official in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology known as MEITY. “So pedophiles can go about on WhatsApp fully secure that they won’t get caught. It is absolutely evil.”

The Telegraph: If Social Media Companies Want To Be A Force For Good, Responsibility Must Become Core To Their Business

“Like them or loathe them, social media companies have transformed the world in which we live. From finding love to toppling corrupt governments, this multi-billion dollar industry – with sharing as its organising principle – can be a force for good. As a former science and innovation minister, I know we are only at the start of this technological revolution. And I want Britain to be the go‑to place in Europe where digital platforms – including social media and messaging behemoths like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tinder – can flourish. But that also means recognising that this great leap forward in connecting people can cause harm, to individuals and society at large. The argument that the web should be beyond careful regulation is long past its sell by date. Social media giants have come of age and are making vast profits. Now they must take on the big responsibilities we expect of all big companies.”

Counter-Terrorism

Hespress: Morocco: Three French Nationals Arrested On Suspicion Of Terror Financing

“The Directorate General of the National Security (DGSN) revealed that the police, in coordination with the Directorate of Surveillance of the National Territory (DST), arrested three French nationals in Salé. One of the detainees is of Algerian origin. They were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the financing of terrorism and affiliation with militants who are members of terrorist organizations. A statement issued by DGSN indicated that "the investigations carried out showed that the suspects were implicated in establishing close ties with militants active in ISIS. In addition, they were also suspected of involvement in raising funds for extremist groups for the purpose of financing terrorist operations.”

Counter Extremism

Elwatan News: Tunisia Fears Spread Of Extremism Because Of "Quranic Schools"

“A cult-like "Quranic school" that was recently discovered in Tunisia stirred fierce public debate in this North African state. Reports showed that these controversial schools were deeply implicated in illegally housing and indoctrinating dozens of children with extremist ideas. Several children were also allegedly sexually abused or assaulted at these institutions. As a result, there were numerous calls to shut down these so-called Quranic schools. On his part, the Tunisian Interior Minister, Hisham Al-Furati, confirmed that 259 associations are currently operating in the realm of Da'wah (preaching of Islam) in Tunisia, some of which are acting illegally and belong to religious groups.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Seventh Day: International Arm Of Muslim Brotherhood Uses All Of Its Funds In A 'War Of Rumors' Against Egypt

“Initial investigations into the latest hotly debated terrorism case in Egypt, involving detained members of a new group called "Allahom Thawra" (God, give us a revolution), show the extent to which the banned Muslim Brotherhood has become strongly repudiated inside and outside Egypt. The interrogations of these Muslim Brotherhood-linked suspects revealed that the international arm of the Muslim Brotherhood has been infusing all of its financial resources, including funds received from Western and Arab intelligence agencies, into a war of rumors against Egypt. This war is aimed solely at tarnishing the image of the Egyptian state at home and abroad. Additionally, the fugitive leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood are devotedly maintaining their attempts to radicalize and recruit new Egyptian youngsters into their ranks. To enlist those youths, the outlawed group relies mainly on its sleeper cells and female activists in Egypt, the investigations further disclosed.”

Mada Masr: A New Ruling By Egypt's Court Of Cassation Complicates The Seizure Of The Muslim Brotherhood's Funds

“On Tuesday, Egypt's Court of Cassation overturned a previous decision by the Cairo Criminal Court placing 296 persons on the terror lists in connection with Case no. 316 of 2017, publicly known as the "Military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood," according to lawyer Ahmad Abu Al-Ula. The lawyer elaborated that 219 out of the 296 defendants, who are predominantly Muslim Brotherhood members, had previously appealed to the Court of Cassation against the decision to place them on the terror lists. On its part, the Cassation Court referred the case back to the criminal court for re-trial of all suspects, including the appellant and non-appellant ones. Sources noted that the Court of Cassation's verdicts, which repeatedly overturn rulings that had put suspects on the terror lists, complicate the issue of seizing the Muslim Brotherhood's funds.”

Houthi

Nabd Hadhramout: Counterfeit YR50 Million Confiscated From Smugglers Linked To The Houthis

“Military police in the Marib province seized YR50 million in counterfeit banknotes in the possession of smugglers affiliated with the Houthis. They were caught while moving between the provinces of al-Jawf and Marib, local sources reported on Monday. Videos clips from the incident showed the money in the possession of the Houthi-affiliated smugglers being seized. The Houthis have relied on cannabis and drug trafficking, as well as forging the Yemeni currency, to finance their war.”
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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